A view from Lick Skillet by Gerald Largen

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Conclusion of Social Security discussion plus Nobel awards

Two of the Nobel prizes awarded over the past few days struck us as noteworthy in respect to the USA.
The first is that awarded last Monday to three economists, including Professor Peter Diamond, of MIT.
What makes his winning particularly interesting is the fact that President Obama nominated him some months ago to a vacancy on the Federal Reserve Board.
However, one of the Republicans’ leading intellectual pygmies in the Senate, Alabama’s Richard Shelby, put a hold on his nomination so that it could not even be considered for confirmation.
This comes as no surprise, since this has been a basic part of the Republican Senators’ modus operandi from day one of the Obama administration.
They have stopped consideration of Judges, District Attorneys, sub-cabinet nominees, etc., etc.
It is indeed tragic that one of the great political organizations not only of this nation, but of the world, the Republican Party, should have fallen from its past days of glory into a morass of pettiness, partisan pique, and posturing, all arising from abysmal ignorance, neglect of duty, and their oaths of office.
The pollsters and prognosticators are virtually unanimous in their expressions of certainty that the new Republican/Tea Party coalition will take majority control of the House for sure, and quite likely the Senate also.
Some view this prospect with alarm; we do not.
We certainly view it with distaste, but we, in our three-quarters of a century have survived, and even thrived under the evil burlesque of the Joe McCarthy era; the criminality of the Dick Nixon Era; the hapless charade of the Newt Gingrich Era; and the usurpation and WMD lies, as well as the economic mismanagement, of the Bush/Cheney Era, so surely we can survive with equanimity the prospect of a Tea Party Era.
What makes this prospect even more entertaining is getting to see just how the establishment Republicans and the Revolutionary cadre of Tea Party winners get along together, and just how they adjust their deep-seated diff-
erences on so many topics.
As one commentator opined last weekend, there will be blood on the floor before it’s all over.
The second Nobel warranting mention is that to Chinese patriot, Liu Xiaobo, who is presently languishing in a Communist prison for calling for democracy in his country.
The Communist dictators who run China, as the current popular phrase puts it, “went ballistic” at the news.
One even characterized the award as “an obscenity.”
Well, dear friends, the award is not an obscenity, but a noble/Nobel effort to promote human rights and democracy, which we should all applaud.
However, we suspect that the pro-China element in this country will echo their Communist friends.
This will be the true obscenity — just as their willing sacrifice of American jobs for an extra bit of profit in their pockets is an obscenity.
Just as their willingness to sacrifice Americans’ health and safety through the distribution of Chinese-provided poisonous baby food, contaminated seafood, defective and dangerous toys, and lethal materials such as the poisonous dry wall is an obscenity.
And turning our backs on all the folks who are now, or soon will be subjugated to the tender mercies of the Chinese Communist Party chieftains, such as the Tibetans, peoples of parts of Southeast Asia, and soon Taiwan, that is a true obscenity.
Have you noticed that anywhere Chinese merchants, labourers, or other ethnic Chinese have ever lived, is now regarded as a part of China? Once they have achieved dominance over our economy, and over our military, as they are intending to do, will they claim California, since so many Chinese workers came there?
Who knows?
We intended to have written all that was relevant about the Social Security programme last week, but we did not have space to go into one other aspect, so we crave your indulgence while we do so here.
Some time back in discussing the recession and the dire predictions of some economists as to the severity of same, we opined that one of the things that would most likely keep the recession from growing into a full blown depression was the amount of money injected into the economy by the Social Security recipients.
To show what a huge impact this has, consider these figures for the month of July as shown in the Social Security Administration’s own statistics:
The total number of recipients is 53,390,000, or approximately one-sixth of the population.
Of this total, 34,233,000 are retired workers; 2,329,000 are spouses; and 561,000 are children, all drawing under the Old-Age Insurance.
Under the Survivors Insurance, there are 4,303,000 widows and widowers, as well as dependent parents; there are 156,000 widowed mothers and fathers; and 1,866,000 surviving entitled children.
And finally, in the Disability Insurance there are 8,034,000 disabled workers, 160,000 spouses, and 1,748,000 children.
Total benefits for all three types of insurance is $57,192,000,000 (Fifty-seven Billion, One Hundred and Ninety-two Million Dollars) paid each and every month.
As you can see, to take out of the economy each month almost sixty billions of dollars would have a major impact on the national economy, a fact little appreciated by the Republican and Tea Party politicians who so blithely bandy about talk of terminating the Social Security programme.
And even less thought is given to how over fifty million beneficiaries, whether elderly, disabled, or dependent are to be looked after if they no longer can draw their Social Security benefits each month.
Will the churches take care of them, or will other charities?
Or will their young children who are trying to start their own families have to postpone their plans in order to provide for their elderly parents, or disabled siblings, or dependent nieces and nephews?
None of these economic “rugged individualists,” nor Tea Party fanatics, seem to have given any thought to any of these consequences should their proposals be adopted, but maybe they themselves will take care of all of us out of their overflowing coffers.—Sure they will.
Maybe like the ancient Chinese, they will simply take us old folks out to a lonely spot and leave us to die, or put us on rafts to float down the rivers and into the seas.
These solutions are no more heartless than some of their other ideas. And they claim to be civilized!
Some even claim to be Christians!
Woe be unto them.